CGD and the Development of Global Skill Partnerships


This case study is one of five produced as part of an external assessment undertaken between 2020-2022 to examine how CGD contributed to influence and impact in some of its areas of work. The case studies detail five notable initiatives from CGD’s first 20 years. This external assessment was led by Benjamin Soskis of the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy and overseen by Amanda Glassman with coordination and support from Brin Datema in consultation with CGD president Masood Ahmed. Each case study was researched and authored by independent consultants to CGD. The full collection of case studies and related materials is available here.

Migration is little discussed in development spaces, and when it is, it is often treated as the antithesis to development; migration happens when development fails. In this paradigm, migration also hinders development through so-called brain drain, or taking skilled people away from poor origin countries. CGD is one of the few development organizations that has focused on migration as a tool for development. CGD researchers have shown that the potential welfare gains from increased migration far exceed those from trade, foreign aid, or foreign direct investment. 

This case study examines CGD’s promotion of the Global Skill Partnership (GSP) model, the brainchild of senior fellow Michael Clemens. The model was designed to maximize benefits from migration for all involved (origin countries, destination countries, employers, and the migrants themselves) while minimizing potential negative effects. It is one tool in a broader range of CGD proposals aiming to bring together the migration and development fields for mutual benefit. Almost 10 years since its genesis, the GSP model is being piloted in multiple contexts.


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